To better understand the diverse temporal evolutions of observed El Niño‒Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, which are characterized as single- or multi-year, this study examines similar events in a 2200-year-long integration of Community Earth System Model, version 1. Results show that selective activation of inter- and intra-basin climate interactions (together, pantropical climate interactions) controls ENSO’s evolution pattern. When ENSO preferentially activates inter-basin interactions with tropical Indian and/or Atlantic Oceans, it introduces negative feedbacks into the ENSO phase, resulting in single-year evolution. When ENSO preferentially activates intra-basin interactions with subtropical North Pacific, it causes positive feedbacks, producing multi-year evolution. Three key factors (developing-season intensity, pre-onset Pacific condition, and maximum zonal location) and their thresholds, which determine whether inter- or intra-basin interactions are activated and whether an event will become a single- or multi-year event, are identified. These findings offer a way to predict ENSO’s evolution pattern by incorporating the controlling role of pantropical climate interactions.
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Abstract El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) exhibits diverse characteristics in spatial pattern, peak intensity, and temporal evolution. Here we develop a three-region multiscale stochastic model to show that the observed ENSO complexity can be explained by combining intraseasonal, interannual, and decadal processes. The model starts with a deterministic three-region system for the interannual variabilities. Then two stochastic processes of the intraseasonal and decadal variation are incorporated. The model can reproduce not only the general properties of the observed ENSO events, but also the complexity in patterns (e.g., Central Pacific vs. Eastern Pacific events), intensity (e.g., 10–20 year reoccurrence of extreme El Niños), and temporal evolution (e.g., more multi-year La Niñas than multi-year El Niños). While conventional conceptual models were typically used to understand the dynamics behind the common properties of ENSO, this model offers a powerful tool to understand and predict ENSO complexity that challenges our understanding of the twenty-first century ENSO.more » « less
Abstract The Indian and Pacific Oceans surround the Maritime Continent (MC). Major modes of sea surface temperature variability in both oceans, including the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), can strongly affect precipitation on the MC. The prevalence of fires in the MC is closely associated with precipitation amount and terrestrial water storage in September and October. Precipitation and terrestrial water storage, which is a measurement of hydrological drought conditions, are significantly modulated by Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and El Niño events. We utilize long-term datasets to study the combined effects of ENSO and the IOD on MC precipitation during the past 100 years (1900–2019) and find that the reductions in MC precipitation and terrestrial water storage are more pronounced during years when El Niño and a positive phase of the IOD (pIOD) coincided. The combined negative effects are produced mainly through an enhanced reduction of upward motion over the MC. Coincident El Niño-pIOD events have occurred more frequently after 1965. However, climate models do not project a higher occurrence of coincident El Niño-pIOD events in a severely warming condition, implying that not the global warming but the natural variability might be the leading cause of this phenomenon.more » « less